Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” Meaning [Explained]

Steve Winwood’s hit song “Higher Love” is a timeless classic that has resonated with listeners for decades. The song’s lyrics speak to the human experience of seeking something more significant than oneself, a higher purpose, and a higher love.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the meaning behind the lyrics of “Higher Love.”

Lyrics Interpretation

Before we delve into the story behind this song, let’s take a closer look at each verse of the lyrics.

Verse 1

The first verse of the song speaks to the search for something greater, the quest for a higher love that is hidden within us or among the stars above. The lyrics, “Think about it, there must be higher love, Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above,” suggest that there is a higher love that exists beyond the material world, and it is something we must search for within ourselves and in the universe.

Without this higher love, life can feel like a wasted time, and the lyrics, “Without it, life is a wasted time, Look inside your heart, I’ll look inside mine,” highlight the importance of introspection and self-reflection in finding this higher love.


The chorus of the song repeatedly asks for this higher love to be brought to the singer, and the lyrics, “Bring me a higher love, Bring me a higher love, Bring me a higher love, Where’s that higher love I keep thinking of?” express the singer’s yearning for something more significant than himself. The repetition of the phrase “higher love” emphasizes the importance of this idea and the search for it.

Verse 2

The second verse of the song talks about the current state of the world and how it can be challenging to find a higher purpose or love when things seem so bad.

The lyrics, “Things look so bad everywhere, In this whole world, what is fair? We walk blind, and we try to see, Falling behind in what could be,” suggest that the world is full of chaos and unfairness, and it can be challenging to find meaning in life.

However, the singer still believes in the existence of a higher love and a higher purpose, and he continues to search for it.


The chorus repeats again, emphasizing the importance of the idea of a higher love and the singer’s yearning for it.

Verse 3

The third verse speaks to the human experience of feeling alone and facing fears. The lyrics, “Worlds are turning, and we’re just hanging on, Facing our fear and standing out there alone, A yearning, and it’s real to me, There must be someone who’s feeling for me,” express the feeling of being lost in a world that is constantly changing and evolving. The singer is searching for someone who understands him and shares his beliefs and values.


The chorus repeats again, and the repetition of the phrase “bring me a higher love” becomes more urgent, as the singer’s desire for this higher love intensifies.


The bridge of the song is a powerful moment that expresses the singer’s hope for a higher love. The lyrics, “I could light the night up with my soul on fire, I could make the sun shine from pure desire, Let me feel that love come over me, Let me feel how strong it could be,” suggest that the singer is ready and willing to experience this higher love, and he is confident that it will be a transformative experience.


The chorus repeats one last time, and the repetition of the phrase “bring me a higher love” becomes even more powerful and passionate.

True Meaning Behind “Higher Love”

“Higher Love” by Steve Winwood was released in the 1980s and features cover art that suggests a romantic love song. However, Winwood has explained that the song is actually a modern hymn with a spiritual meaning. 

The Search for a Higher Love

The lyrics of “Higher Love” convey a sense of despair and confusion about the state of the world. The vocalist pleads for a “higher love” to intervene in their life and help them find meaning and purpose.

This sentiment reflects the societal anxiety of the Cold War era, where the threat of nuclear war loomed large. The desperation for a higher power to intervene is a common theme in spiritual and religious traditions.

The Language of Spirituality

Although the lyrics can be interpreted as a romantic love song, there are certain aspects that suggest a deeper spiritual meaning. The use of the word “higher” connotes spiritual matters and a divine presence.

The lyrics also use terminology commonly heard in church settings, such as “soul on fire” and “love coming over me.” These elements reinforce the idea that the song is a modern hymn meant to convey a spiritual message.

The Importance of Context

While the lyrics of “Higher Love” can be interpreted in multiple ways, understanding the cultural and historical context of its release sheds light on its spiritual meaning.

The anxieties and fears of the Cold War era created a longing for a higher power to provide guidance and protection. The lyrics of “Higher Love” reflect this sentiment and offer hope for those seeking a deeper spiritual connection.

Music Video

The video was shot in June 1986 by directors Peter Kagan and Paula Greif and features Chaka Khan and Nile Rodgers.

Interestingly, Kagan and Greif shot an almost identical video for Duran Duran’s “Notorious” just a few months later in November of that year. Both videos were nominated for several awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards, although neither took home the prize.

The video for “Higher Love” uses the shorter single version of the song and showcases Winwood’s incredible talent on the keyboard and vocals. Chaka Khan looks stunning in her black-and-gold outfit, and Nile Rodgers shreds it up on the guitar with the backing band.



“Higher Love” by Steve Winwood is a modern hymn that conveys a spiritual message of hope and longing for a higher power. While the lyrics can be interpreted in a romantic context, their true meaning is tied to the cultural and historical context of their release. By understanding this context, listeners can appreciate the spiritual significance of the song and its message of hope and longing for a deeper connection to the divine.

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